Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Onward fearless decorator

In the year + we have lived in this house, Murray and I have done quite a number of projects. Yet there are still a few spaces that make me growl with irritation when I walk past.   The Nesting Place said there are 2 things you need for a project: inspiration and motivation. For myself, I would add one more thing: I need a deadline.

With the deadline of 3 boys and 2 adults coming for 10 days and the motivation of no sufficiently comfortable set-up for them, I took on one of my nemesis rooms. The "blue room" (aka the small playroom) opens off of the dining room and is part of a "loop" from the dining room, library, office, blue room and dining room again. I'm a big fan of household traffic loops when you have small children. But this one is not optimal and I wasn't too upset about breaking it by making the blue room into a guest bedroom (it has a bathroom attached) because, let's face it, there is plenty of room for kids to roam in this house. 
Here's what I was replacing: 

I wasn't particularly inspired, but felt that if I just got started, inspiration would strike. I initially planned to paint over the wall paper, but when I got out the trusty TSP to wash the walls, it became painfully clear that I should remove the paper. Which I really, really didn't want to do at first. Then I started and it peeled off in big strips and was hugely satisfying.  (Not to Natalie though. I had neglected to tell her of my plans and when she came home from school and saw what I had done, she burst into tears. And proceeded to weep every time she walked into the room for the next 3 days. Oh well, when she has her own house she can make her own decorating decisions. And she does have some input because she convinced me to paint it blue instead of green).

Unfortunately, removing the wall paper did leave behind the glue. Looking at that, I knew I had a job on my hands. I didn't know how to get it off, so I googled it and got a few techniques to try. First one: baking soda and water. It got the glue off all right, but really did a number on the underlying wall paint/stuff as well. It could be that the wall that I used it on was the external wall ("old house" plaster) and different than the others - it was the touchiest and the one I struggled with the most. Next up: vinegar and water. OK - just as good as the first, and didn't mangle the undercoat. Third option: Chomp, a wallpaper remover which I had had all along but hadn't bothered to try (?!?). I used it on a small, new wall, (so the experiment design had some flaws), but it was the best. They all required serious elbow grease but the Chomp will be my first choice next time. 

By now the clock was ticking. I started the project 10 days before the Thurs night I planned to have guests sleeping in the room - the walls were finally ready for paint perhaps... on Tuesday? Cleaned, spackled and primed. During that week we had house guests for 2 nights and on Tuesday we had to go pack our 1/2 of a cow - oh joy - so it's not like I was sitting around ignoring my glue splotched walls.

Paint choices - blue was the color that would make my weeping angel happy, and I'd had such good luck with my previous mixing, that I visited our paint storage shelf again. Not such instant success as before, but eventually, I found something I liked. Darker than I'd have thought, but I wanted it grown up, not a bright, child's playroom primary blue. Painting the room was quick, clean up a bit longer, and then it was time to pay a visit to Homegoods. 

Lamps, pillows, quilt - and a bit more, loaded in my car (I did this with both children on Wednesday night - that's what a deadline will do for you).

Here's the finished product. Except not quite finished. But good enough that I let our friends sleep there! Any ideas? Opinions?


  1. What a great job Jen!! It looks very tranquil!

  2. Nice Jen! Like the orange pillow -- maybe find a painting for the wall w/some of the same orange? It's a great accent for that dark blue/white.